New Deh Cho Bridge plans unveiled
A new general contractor will finish building the Deh Cho Bridge, as the Northwest Territories government takes control of the controversial project from a private company.
Government officials announced Wednesday that Ruskin Construction is replacing Acton Construction on the second half of construction on the bridge over the Mackenzie River.
Atcon completed about $40 million worth of work, then left the project earlier this year, after changes had to be made to the bridge's design.
The half-finished bridge is expected to be completed by November 2011, and Ruskin president Andrew Purdey promised the structure will be up to code.
"The design has gone through a very, very rigorous review by some very competent and capable people across North America — some of the top-name engineering firms that range from Florida to San Francisco to Vancouver," Purdy told reporters in Yellowknife.
"We will not start construction on any phase of the work until our quality control requirements have been met. We have checks in place all the way along."
Associated Engineering has also been hired to monitor the project on a daily basis.
The N.W.T. Transportation Department announced the changes as it takes over management of the project from the Deh Cho Bridge Corp. of Fort Providence, where the bridge is located.
The corporation's role in the government's new plans has yet to be worked out, department director Kevin McLeod said.
"We've asked them what they want to do, and they've asked us, 'Well, what do you think we should do?' And we've had those kind of discussions," McLeod said.
"At the end of the day, it's what they want to have done. They still have equity. It's still on their land, it's in their backyard."
The Deh Cho Bridge will provide a year-round road link between Alberta and North Slave communities such as Yellowknife, replacing the existing winter road and summer ferry services across the Mackenzie River.
The project has been the subject of heated debates because of its ballooning costs and construction delays. It was originally scheduled to open this fall.
Ruskin Construction will start building the second half of the Deh Cho Bridge in June, as the Mackenzie River is expected to be ice-free by then.